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We Are Focussed On Following Template Set By Gautam Gambhir: Harshit Rana

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Lucknow, May 6 (PTI) Young pacer Harshit Rana feels Kolkata Knight Riders are reaping the rewards by following the winning template set by two-time IPL winner and current mentor Gautam Gambhir as they continued their sensational run to grab the top position in the IPL points table.

Gambhir had led KKR to the IPL crown twice with the team also qualifying for the playoffs five times during his stint from 2011 to 2017. He had also guided KKR to the finals of the now-defunct Champions League T20 in 2014.

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However, in the last seven years, KKR could reach the playoffs only twice.
Gambhir’s return to the KKR camp as a mentor this year turned things around as the Kolkata-based franchise moved to the top of the table with 16 points following a dominating 98-run over Lucknow Super Giants — 8th win in 11 games — on Sunday night.

“Not only this match, this entire season we have been focussing a lot on the style of cricket that Gautam Gambhir wants us to play. He has a lot of knowledge on how to turn games in our favour and it helps us a lot in the middle,” Rana said during the press conference.
“Like today he gave the bowlers a free hand, to find the length to bowl depending on the wicket, and not to try too many things,” he added.

Rana (3/24 in 3.1 overs) played a crucial role in the win by taking three wickets while defending a target of 235.
“KKR read the wicket very well. The areas we had to bowl, we targeted the right places,” Rana said.

IPL’s biggest buy Mitchell Starc has proved expensive this season but Rana said the team management is not at all bothered about his economy rate and has faith on the Australian speedstar.
“We have not cared even for a bit on how expensive Mitchell Starc has been in IPL 2024. He have full faith in him and he won us the last game and we have no doubts on him whatsoever.

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“He has such a great influence on the younger players, he has such a huge wealth of knowledge,” Rana said.
Rana said his dream is to play for India and is focussing on his performance.
“My aim is to play for India but whatever franchise I play for I try to give my best on the day of the match. I will be selected based on my performance and performance alone,” Rana said.

It was yet another sparkling fifty by Sunil Narine (81 off 39) which helped KKR post a massive 235 for six and LSG fast bowler Naveen Ul Haq conceded that all their plans failed against the star West Indian allrounder.
“I think he played quite well. We had a plan of bowling bouncers and yorkers and mixing it up and not being predictable against him. We did that but he played quite a brilliant innings to be honest,” he said.

“It wasn’t like he was slogging and everything was going top edge or anything like slicing the ball. He was properly middling it and that’s the case like from the beginning of the season.

“He’s been middling it. Everything going his way. So yeah, it was a great knock by him.”
The Afghan seamer said LSG could have produced a better show with the bat but they can’t dwell on defeat too much as they need to focus on the next game.

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“The amount of games that we have played in Lucknow, I think this was the best wicket to bat on. We did not do the things in the chase that we did – say in the game at Chepauk, where the target was very high. It was not like bad or anything, there was nothing for the bowlers,” Naveen said.

“Pressure is always there on whatever score you are chasing. Every team has a bad day, and we cannot keep focusing on that, we have to move on.”

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